History of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church/First Baptist Church of Saks
New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was established September 10, 1927 with 13 charter members. Those early meetings were held in the homes of the members. On November 7, 1927 Dr. and Mrs. C.L. Harkins donated one-half acre of land to be used as a building site for a church sanctuary. The first building was constructed of wood and seated approximately 200 people. The estimated value was $1,500.00.
On October 7, 1945, the first full-time pastor, Rev. Grover Shaddix, was called to serve the church.
In May, 1955, the first pastor’s home was dedicated.
Beginning April 12, 1959, a bond campaign was started to raise $80,000.00 for a new church sanctuary. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held May 24, 1959. Approximately one year later, on May 4, 1960, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church became First Baptist Church of Saks. A few weeks later, on the second Sunday in June, 1960, the first service was held in our second sanctuary, a $90,000.00 brick building, capable of accommodating about 500 people. Dedication services were held on July 10, 1960. Pastor, Rev. J. R. Akins, wrote the following in the dedication program: “The spirit of faith, prayer, sacrifice and willingness to be led of the Holy Spirit which has been shown in working together to complete this building, will insure success in reaching people for Christ. The challenge now is greater than before. It is a challenge to seek and win the lost.”
In 1967 we began a kindergarten program that has grown consistently and still reaches many children from the community. This program brought about our current Child Development Center and Daycare known as Weekday Early Education. Many young adults remember fondly their educational foundation started in this program.
In 1974 we completed a new educational building containing 23,000 square feet. This building was built to house our children and youth for Sunday School and other church related
In 1977 a state of the art pipe organ was purchased and installed.
As early as August, 1986, initial meetings were held to plan the construction of our third sanctuary. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held on January 10, 1988. On April 29, 1990, our third sanctuary, a 2.5 million dollar facility with a seating capacity of 1,200, was dedicated. Pastor, Dr. Bill Barnes, had the following statement in his letter for the dedication of our new worship center/office complex: “May we determine that this building will not be an end within itself but a tool, an instrument that is used to accomplish the Lord’s will in our church and in our community.”
In 1995 we began our TV ministry which currently reaches homes in the greater Calhoun County, Gadsden and the northeast and east central Alabama area.
On March 2, 2014, First Baptist Church of Saks held a grand opening celebration for a new Christian Life Center. At a cost of 1.8 million dollars it affords new opportunities for serving the Lord. Within the 20,750 square feet it contains a gym with a regulation size high school basketball court and volley ball court, a 100+ seat multi-purpose room (connected to a warming kitchen) to use for seminars, meeting, showers, conferences, etc. and a second floor youth area with a 150+ seat youth room as well as other youth facilities. Pastor, Dr. Randy Postell, had the following quote for the Grand Opening Celebration: “May this building be a “ministry tool” that will be a witness to our community and impact lives for generations to come. May this new facility be used to bring many people to Jesus and see them built up in Him. Amen”
First Baptist Church of Saks has always been a part of the Southern Baptist Convention and has led in the support of missions and evangelism since its inception. From the quotes of our pastors, each addition to our church facilities has been an effort to minister to the Saks Community and surrounding areas with the main focus of reaching others for Jesus Christ.
We look to the future with excitement as God sends new people to join with us in carrying out our goals of serving Him.